Interview for GRIND TV:
Not even whales can resist the perfect wave! A mother humpback whale and her calf have been snapped riding a swell at the iconic Banzai Pipeline on Oahu’s North Shore in Hawaii. Dozens of beach-goers flocked to watch Saturday's unusual display, which was captured by photographer J.T. Gray of North Shore Surf Photos. The incredible photo shows six-time world bodyboarding champion Guilherme Tamega carving a set, followed by two humpback whales cruising behind on a second swell.
Gray told GrindTV that while it's common to see dolphins ride a wave, it is unusual behavior for whales. 'The whales were 75 to 100 yards east of Pipeline and playing for a while, then swam to about 10 yards outside of the lineup,' he said.
'A set came in and the bodyboarder caught the first wave, and the humpbacks caught the second. 'Whales frequent Hawaii in the winter months, but never that close to shore.' He said the whales were a mother and calf, suggesting they could have been playing, or perhaps that the mother was keeping tabs on her cheeky calf.
The rare image was posted Ocean Defender–Hawaii’s Facebook page on Monday and has been shared more than 6,000 times. 'Yes, it’s the first time anyone has seen a humpback surf or get that close to the waves, but they do get really close to shore,' Ocean Defender’s Oriana Kalama told GrindTV. 'Humpbacks sing, breach and if you ask me they dance too. If you ever have the chance to see them underwater, you would see how much they seem to enjoy to move their pectoral fins and in a way flirt with each other when in groups. 'So why wouldn’t they surf too? After all they are Hawaiians by birth.'